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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize For Fiction 2014

Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014

Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2013

Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love - and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph - a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.

©2013 Tay Ltd (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Story

Such an exquisite story, I didn't want it to end

David Pittu is brilliant in evoking all the different characters, and just like the painting the book has been named after, this book will remain a masterpiece to be savoured into the future.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharron
  • Robinvale, Australia
  • 01-04-14

The Goldfinch

I found this book annoying on several levels. We are told of a disaster looming in Theo's life early in the book but the time taken to get to the deails of the event nearly drove me crazy. I found the narrators monotone voice nearly put me to sleep, especially bad as I was on a long drive. Finally I find books about people on a path of self destruction very irrating and the insights I got into drug induced minds wasn't for me.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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This book is not for me.

Would you try another book from Donna Tartt and/or David Pittu?

No for Donna Tartt and yes for David Pittu. He is a great narrator.

Would you ever listen to anything by Donna Tartt again?

No

Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

The Russian

Do you think The Goldfinch needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, The Story could have been told with half the words. There was way too much description (poetry does it better) and the characters aren't that interesting.

Any additional comments?

Donna Tartt has an audience and some people clearly love the book but it didn't engage me. I lost interest in the story and the characters. That doesn't mean it is poorly written. There is gold in the ore but you have to work to find it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Maaan, it's good!

The Goldfinch. Wow! What can I say. In the words of our Australian music guru, Molly Meldrum, I will say, guys, we have a hit on our hands. Yep, I believe this book has got to be a best seller, long term a breaker of records. Man, it's good! Plus, the narration is brilliant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully written

This is a delightfully crafted tale about choices and their consequences. The simple decision to talk to a friend while he smoked a cigarette on school grounds results in a life altering event for Theo Decker. All subsequent decisions set the stage for less than savoury entanglements. The underlying theme is about which of the myriad obvious or subtle decisions Theo makes could have changed his life's course for the better.

Although this book is an extraordinarily long and, at times, dense with psychological detailed, at no time does the story get bogged down or seem to drag. This is the first Danna Tartt book I've 'read' but it definitely not be the last.

The excellent narration and characterisations added another level of my enjoyment of this story.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent narration brings book to life.

What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

David Pittu's narration. He was quite brilliant at giving voices to each character and thereby giving life to the story.

If you’ve listened to books by Donna Tartt before, how does this one compare?

Well I've actually read both of Tartt's earlier books (old school!). For me the last chapter breaking from the established style and delving into philosophical soliloquizing was a device that just didn't work. I don't remember this being an aspect of the earlier novels which I remember being all character and plot.

Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

James Hobart, or "Hobie"; main character's mentor

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely. A real "page-turner" if you can call an audio-book by that term.

Any additional comments?

Intriguing novel; I was completely drawn into the world of Theo for the first 3/4 of the novel. By the final quarter however I found myself somewhat alienated by the increasing preposterousness of the plot and repetitive ruminations of Boris (Pittu's narration saved the day there in my opinion), and I've already talked about the unsatisfying nature of the 'philosophical reflection' of the last chapter

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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how did this get such good reviews???

There are good patches of writing. But why write it? mostly miserable characters sinking lowly and repetitively into boring self obsessed darkness. Endless pages of drug and alcohol abuse with violence. Meandering plot. I found it a chore with no reward. The only good thing i got from it, is that i found one other reviewer who didn't enjoy it and she has recommendations that are interesting for me.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!!!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A younger voice and other characters did not sound engaging. It was was a painful listen.

What was most disappointing about Donna Tartt’s story?

The story was completely disjointed, hence was not able to engage or interest. It was just a complete waste of my time.

Would you be willing to try another one of David Pittu’s performances?

Yes.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Goldfinch?

The book is needlessly long, with scenes not going anywhere or communicating anything that could engage.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 02-02-14

Brilliant! I highly reccomend this wonderful book.

What did you love best about The Goldfinch?

It was a very captivating story which never dragged. The characters were marvellous and well developed. I was never bored with it and could not wait to get back to my listen.

What does David Pittu bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A wonderful listen! His ability to capture the essence of the various characters through his amazing voices made this a standout listen for me. I shall definitely look out for him as a reader.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had many laugh out loud moments! Particularly with the character Boris. I have taken to calling my cat Popchick!

Any additional comments?

I have read several reviews elsewhere regarding this book. I was interested that some found it too long, and some were overcome by all the drug abuse. I found it interesting to see the development of Theo and Boris and how their lives intertwined. I loved it from start to finish.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • SOUTH HURSTVILLE, Australia
  • 01-14-14

Evocative performance

If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

Rambling, compelling, absorbing

What other book might you compare The Goldfinch to and why?

Although not similar in content, it brought to mind The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, for its rich characterisation, intricacy and detail of plot and extreme differences in locale (possibly also because the bulk of both books is set in New York).

Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

It's a toss up between Boris and Hobie.

Any additional comments?

David Pittu's performance was excellent. The characters all sounded distinct and his voice is very easy to listen to. That, added to Tartt's characterisation, created a book full of rich characters who were easy to picture.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tara
  • 12-02-13

Narrator Hand Picked By Tartt- Outstanding!

I was fortunate enough to attend a recent Guardian Book Club where Donna Tartt was talking about her first novel, The Secret History. I was even more fortunate enough to personally ask her about her books being made into audiobooks (she has narrated both her previous novels)

I was curious to find out how she felt about David Pittu's narration of her third novel, particularly as she has always been totally against her novels being made into movies because she doesn't like the thought of her character's voices being interpreted by a director or actor.

Her response to my question was fascinating to me as I've always wondered whether authors have much of an input into their novels being made into audiobooks. She said that she had wanted to narrate The Goldfinch herself but didn't have the time in her schedule, so instead she listened to many audition tapes and eventually chose Pittu because she liked the way he read the very strange,but somehow loveable, Boris.

She then spent many hours with David Pittu on the telephone and described to him all of the voices and how each character should sound. I love that she did this, I am fascinated that each character has the voice she intended for them, this 'schooling' of the narrator really has paid off.

She said that she hadn't yet listened to the finished audiobook but hoped that it was good, she asked me if I enjoyed it, to which I replied it is one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to. And it really is truly the best audiobook I've ever listened to, as good as if not better than some of my favorites- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Under The Dome, The Help, NOS4R2, the Name Of The Wind. I wonder if the authors of these novels had the same kind of input to the audio versions of their novels as The Goldfinch has had.

It is truly a work of art and will stay with me forever. My advice- don't read too many reviews, the less you know the better, just listen to this book and let it take you a place only the most special of authors and narrators can help you journey to.

124 of 131 people found this review helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 10-18-14

Like watching a runaway train....

Loved this book. Not my typical genre, but selected by my bookclub....but while they might all be reading it, I opted for the audio version! Brilliant.

On paper, the story plot itself appears quite straightforward, and in the interests of avoiding spoilers, I won't elaborate. However, it's the characters and their emotions that bring this book to life. Watching Theo, and the tragedy of his life unfold, exacerbated by some of the decisions he makes....it's like watching a runaway train gathering momentum, and there's nothing you can do to stop it as it surely rushes towards a disastrous end.

The characters are all richly developed, and the plot seamless.

A hugely satisfying book, in every way. I didn't want this book to end ......I needed to know about the next 20+ years of all their lives....

The narration is excellent, with wonderfully distinct and appropriate voices for the characters.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 07-22-14

Began so well and then deteriorated

The first few hours of the recording promised an engaging story with well-drawn characters, however it went downhill after that. Theo Decker, the teller of the story, is a 13 year year old who loses his mother under traumatic circumstances when a bomb goes off at a museum they are visiting. He survives and encouraged by another victim grabs a priceless painting that shapes the rest of the book as we follow him into adulthood. The book begins to flag when he goes to Las Vegas with his estranged father and teams up with Boris: a Russian delinquent who introduces him to bad ways. Endless descriptions of the two of them getting wasted on drink and drugs was frankly boring. The book improves briefly as Theo returns to New York and re-unites with Holbie a furniture-restorer, he met shortly after the accident. My heart-sank when Boris returns to the narrative and had to endure more tedious descriptions of being drunk and the effects of various drugs. There’s a good story buried under all this self-destructive wallowing. The end of the book is even worse: long monologues of pop-psychology about the meaning of life from Boris that might have worked as satire, but I think it was meant to be taken seriously.

It’s as if the author had several books in mind: a boy’s coming-of-age story; a US version of Train-spoting; a crime novel; a guide to furniture restoring techniques; art appreciation; a crime story and a handbook of how to make the best of your life. If only there had been a ruthless editor to get rid of all the waffle and navel-gazing this might have been a really good book.

The narrator is excellent.

42 of 47 people found this review helpful

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  • S. W. Holdings
  • 09-22-14

Great premise destroyed by page and pages of bloat

This book is very well written so there is no doubt about the writers capabilities.
Unfortunately I feel that the story dragged on for so long on unimportant events and episodes which haven't added any real value to the story, I simply lost interest in Theo and the painting.
Also, Theo as a grown man, is not a very likable protagonist, he has lost his moral compass, has a weak character and his drug addiction problem is to me an overkill. Theo’s lifelong love for Pippa, with which he does nothing about, becomes frustrating with time and I wish the writer would have either given it a rest or moved forward with it. There were times when I wanted to shake Theo out of his pitiful, numb existence and tell him to wake up and stop feeling so damn sorry for himself.

What started off as a great story, progressed to be more and more tedious as the book went on. The whole episode in Amsterdam, was so overdone and out of character, by the time I reached the ending, I couldn’t wait for this damn book to finish.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 11-06-13

Wonderful Art-ful Coming of Age Story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have already recommended this audiobook to several people. It is so absorbing, well-written and deliciously long!

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the characters - especially Theo, the protagonist, with his inner turmoil and sense of duty alongside his desire for desire; and Borys, the kind of friend who is great to have yet always brings some kind of trouble in his wake. The plot is full of surprises and, despite gradually entering the realm of thriller, or crime novel, never becomes unbelievable, mostly due to the depth and authenticity of Theo's reactions, and the richness of his inner life in response to his world.

What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

David Pittu gave a standout performance. I especially loved the way he brought Borys to life, the Eastern European/Russian accent was perfect to my ears. All the characters were so well voiced. He really fleshed out the story and his pacing is impeccable.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me laugh and cry. It also made me think a lot. I loved the way Theo thought about life and his thoughts allowed me to explore a lot of my own ideas.

Any additional comments?

There was a special pleasure for me in the ideas about art, about how 'great' art should belong to everyone, and the effect that art can have on people's way of thinking and acting. I also thought the novel was realistic in its portrayal of alcoholism and drug use. For many people addiction is not a totally crippling illness that destroys their lives, as it is usually described, but rather an important part of their life that they manage to control enough to have relationships and work, although their addiction does colour who they are and the choices they make.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • E
  • 11-18-13

Devastating story, remarkably read.

If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

Involving, compulsive, moving

What did you like best about this story?

Ms Tartt's total immersion in the life of a young boy learning to fend for himself in a world that is both randomly cruel and kind is a tour de force; following young Theo through the vicissitudes of his bereavement and subsequent loneliness is utterly compelling. His friendships with the bad-boy Boris, and the saintly Hobie have an immediacy that is true and heart-felt, and Tartt's perfectly honed ear for the distinctive levels of societies from high New York through seedy Las Vegas and the bad-lands of gangsterdom are extraordinary. Fabritsius and his golden painting are now super-stars in their own rights.<br/><br/>Giving each of the many characters a life of their own, David Pittu has a myriad of voices and a sympathy with Theo that makes the whole story shine; of all the many narrators that I have listened to over the years, Mr Pittu ranks as one of the very best.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Not the most enjoyable of the scenes in the book, of course, but the horrific bombing of the museum and the subsequent chaos that Theo has to confront, sitting with a dying man while trying to understand what could have happened to him and to his mother, will be unforgettable to any that listen. His confusion, his bewilderment and his innate compassion for the old gentleman is painted in masterly strokes.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

'Broken Chains - the Goldfinch that flew.'

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Petra
  • 05-18-14

Doesn't live up to the hype

Too long.
Long passages (mostly relating to drug and alcohol excess) that were dull and unnecessary.
Finishes with a homily informing us what it's all about, but it just didn't work for me.
Nothing wrong with the narration.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • T
  • 04-20-15

Overly long, saved by good narration

Donna Tartt is a fine writer but desperately needs a strong editor to temper her enthusiasm for sheer length. This book should surely have been no more than 20 hours rather than 32 hours. To be clear, I do NOT mean it should be abridged – I mean it should have been more accurately focussed in the first place, before publication. Maintaining my attention was a problem at many points, most especially towards the end, when my own enthusiasm was waning! It says something that I did stick with it, but any joy in listening to this novel had been long lost by the time it finally got to the end.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • H. Lowe
  • 01-25-15

so good and so long it becomes a part of you

as a huge fan of the secret history but found the little friend a bit too meandering I was nervous about the goldfinch because if its length. but I needn't have worried. yes it's incredibly long but it's also so, so good. I don't know what to do now Theo is not in my life everyday!

ignore the reviews that say the main character is unlikeable but. it's true that his best friend Boris is extremely likeable and the reader portrays all the characters brilliantly. there's so much fluidity that you forget there's anything in between you and the story. almost like it's happening directly in your mind.

I enjoyed Zandra enormously and the whole time he is in Vegas is really special. I don't know what else to say other than if you want something so good that takes a long time to end then listen to this audio book!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheila
  • 11-20-13

Best book I've listened to this year

This book was wonderful, both the story and the narration. It has spoiled me for anything else and I mourn its finishing. I might just start listening to it from the beginning again!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane Oliver
  • 06-10-14

Brilliant study of insane grief with dark humour

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because it's a masterpiece.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Goldfinch?

When Boris reappeared and told his ambivalent and appalling news.

What about David Pittu’s performance did you like?

That he got away with such a terrible range of accents. I disliked his American twang and it took me many chapters to relax with it, but he made up for it with Boris and with Hobie.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Something more precious than a masterpiece

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rp125
  • 07-29-16

A wonderful achievement

Probably one of the best plots of any books I've read, and brilliantly narrated. The ending drags on a little which was a shame.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sailing_with_mrs_scott
  • 05-24-16

Sensational Story

What made the experience of listening to The Goldfinch the most enjoyable?

The characters and story were rich with detail with a satisfying ending.

What did you like best about this story?

The many layers of the story, the transformation of our main character, the final resolution.

Have you listened to any of David Pittu’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No.

Any additional comments?

Loved this! Recommend absolutely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robin
  • 03-31-16

Incredible book

I'm so sorry this has ended. I feel like Theo is an old friend and I want our friendship to continue. The story is so involved and engaging, unusual, harsh, loving and nihilistic all at the same time. There are some wonderful characters all richly drawn, as well as the locations they inhabit specifically New York and a Las Vegas not seen by tourists. Sit back, relax, and be patient while you are taken on a languid ride through this boy's life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 02-25-16

Seriously in need of editing

Would have been great with the great swathes of tedious verbose descriptive prose, that paralysed this novel with monotonous regularity, removed. Almost died of frustration by the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-17-15

Richly smattered with cultural references, a delig

An entire life laid out, sins and all.
In a fascinating time and place, we watch a boy grow through tragedy and triumph.
Our hero and our villain.
What path does he take in life?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lorna
  • 07-30-15

The Goldfinch a brilliant tale and beautifully narrated

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it was so good that I was sad when it finished.I also thought that the narrator was the best I have heard !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sheng
  • 04-20-15

way too long for a not so complicated story

The story is dragged so long that to a point i just want it end. the narrator is exceptionally good. not sure how come this book a prize winner.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marian
  • 01-09-15

Serious editing required

Far too long. Story keeps getting side tracked constantly which makes you forget some of the more important details. Narration was fantastic though. Like listening to a radio drama. Pretty much the only thing that made me stick with the book. Perhaps my expectations were too high from all the hype about the novel. I kept thinking this is like pulling teeth ! Shame I really wanted to like it and saved for my holiday listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Carol Scott
  • 11-15-17

Brilliant

This is one of the best audio books I’ve ever listened to and I listen to at least one per month. I can see why Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize - outstanding writing and beautiful narration